Thought for Today (4/14/2016)

Maimonides, a Jewish philosopher who was born in 1135 AD and died in 1204 AD, was quoted on the show Last Man Standing as coming up with the 8 levels of charity. In them he came up with such wise advice as this:

There are eight levels of charity, each greater than the next.

[1] The greatest level, above which there is no greater, is to support a fellow Jew by endowing him with a gift or loan, or entering into a partnership with him, or finding employment for him, in order to strengthen his hand until he need no longer be dependent upon others . . .

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:4

[2] A lesser level of charity than this is to give to the poor without knowing to whom one gives, and without the recipient knowing from who he received. For this is performing a mitzvah solely for the sake of Heaven. This is like the “anonymous fund” that was in the Holy Temple [in Jerusalem]. There the righteous gave in secret, and the good poor profited in secret. Giving to a charity fund is similar to this mode of charity, though one should not contribute to a charity fund unless one knows that the person appointed over the fund is trustworthy and wise and a proper administrator, like Rabbi Chananyah ben Teradyon.

 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:1-4

[3] A lesser level of charity than this is when one knows to whom one gives, but the recipient does not know his benefactor. The greatest sages used to walk about in secret and put coins in the doors of the poor. It is worthy and truly good to do this, if those who are responsible for distributing charity are not trustworthy.

The one that Last Man Standing focused on was #3, but I took the time to look at the others.

The story of Nikolaos of Myra was a Catholic Bishop who went throughout his parish at night leaving coins in the shoes of his parishioners left out on their doorstep. Nikolaos lived from 270 AD to 343 AD.

[4] A lesser level of charity than this is when one does not know to whom one gives, but the poor person does know his benefactor. The greatest sages used to tie coins into their robes and throw them behind their backs, and the poor would come up and pick the coins out of their robes, so that they would not be ashamed.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. Philippians 2:3

[5] A lesser level than this is when one gives to the poor person directly into his hand, but gives before being asked.

Jesus gave to the poor and needy throughout the New Testament.

[6] A lesser level than this is when one gives to the poor person after being asked.

“Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.” Matthew 5:42

[7] A lesser level than this is when one gives inadequately, but gives gladly and with a smile.

John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.” Luke 3:11

[8] A lesser level than this is when one gives unwillingly.

Something that one gives unwillingly is not charity.  “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7

Everything this philosopher came up with on charity in the 12th and early 13th century had been either recorded in the New Testament or was known to be of Christian origin over a thousand years prior.

I have not yet had a chance to read more of Maimonides philosophy yet, but intend to do so and see how much more of his writings were borrowed from Christianity.

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About The Rural Iowegian

I am the Rural Iowegian of www.ruraliowegian.wordpress.com a published author and an award winning photographer. I use this space to speak my mind. God Bless.
This entry was posted in An Inconvenient God, Nourishment For The Soul, Religion, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

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